Neil Redfearn says his decision to name Lewis Turner as captain in Tuesday night’s reserve-team game against Gateshead was a reward for the defender’s performances with Leeds United’s Under-18s this season, writes Phil Hay.
Turner was a surprising choice as skipper of the United side who routed Gateshead 6-0 at Elland Road, selected from a squad which contained no fewer than eight first-team professionals.
Former Derby County captain Paul Connolly was among the senior players given a run-out on Tuesday but reserve coach Redfearn opted to hand the armband to one of the youngest members of an experienced line-up.
Turner, whose brother Nathan also featured from the outset and scored the opening goal, is an 18-year-old product of United’s academy at Thorp Arch and has yet to break into Simon Grayson’s first-team squad.
Redfearn said: “It might raise a few eyebrows but at the end of the day he’s been outstanding for the youth team this season.
“He’s not the most vocal but he’s one of these players who leads by example. He’s played like that for the youth team and I thought it was right that he got his reward.”
Redfearn also spoke in glowing terms about on-loan Arsenal winger Sanchez Watt, who scored twice in quick succession late in the second half to help round off a convincing victory over Gateshead.
“With the ability he’s got, he’s capable of playing at the highest level,” Redfearn said. “There’s no two ways about that.
“He’s got all his career in front of him and it’s fantastic for us to have him. When he’s right on form, he’s virtually unplayable.”